As has been stressed herein, you will find that it is
necessary to assume the
various roles and personae of all creatures not represented by players. This
can be particularly difficult in combat situations. You must be able to
quickly determine what the monsters involved will do in any given situation,
and this can be particularly difficult in combat situations.
It is necessary that you make a rule to decide what course
of action the
monsters will follow BEFORE the party states what they are going to do.
This can be noted on the area key or jotted down on paper. Having such
notes will save you from later arguments, as it is a simple matter to show
disgruntled players these ”orders” when they express dissatisfaction with
the results of such an encounter. The intelligence and wisdom of concerned
monsters are principal determinants of their actions and/or
reactions. Consider also cunning and instinct. It is also important to
remember that lawful indicates an organized and ordered approach,
while chaotic means a tendency towards random, individual action and
disorganization; but these modifiers must also be judged in light of the
monsters concerned, of course.
Examples of the responses
of six [EXI, EX2, EX3,
EX5, EX6] different types of monsters
The situation will be the same in each example:
(whose composition and levels are unimportant for the example and would obviously vary in each situation anyway)
will be attacking the monsters in the examples in two situations.
SITUATION 1 (S1) is where encounter occurs for the first time,
and while the party inflicts casualties upon the monsters, victory is denied;
the party then leaves with its wounded, regroups, and returns one full week later to finish the job.
SITUATION 2 (S2) is where the party, rested, healed, and ready for action,
has now re-encountered the monsters in question.
In both situations the response of the monsters concerned will be detailed so you can use the examples in handling actual play.
EXAMPLE I: The party has entered a crypt
under an old temple and
attacked skeletons and zombies encountered there.
S1: The monsters will respond only
as the crypts are entered in turn. Being
effectively mindless, they have no co-ordination in their attacks, and
no pursuit will occur when the party breaks off.
S2. There will be no change in response
on the part of the skeletons and
zombies. Those destroyed will not have been replaced (assuming,
course, that some evil cleric is not nearby) by reinforcements. Doors
and furniture previously damaged or destroyed will not have been
EXAMPLE II: The party has located and attacked a colony of giant ants.
S1. Although giant ants have only ”animal
intelligence”, the colony is an
organized society wherein individuals are part of a greater whole;
thus, response will be ordered. Warrior ants will meet the attackers,
and workers will remove bodies, items dropped, and any rubble
caused by the combat. If the queen is threatened, the workers will
attack also. When the party breaks off the action, there is but slight
chance of pursuit.
S2. In the interim, pupae reaching
maturity (perhaps 1-6 warriors and 3-12
workers) will have replaced casualties incurred during the first encounter.
Destroyed tunnels will have been repaired, new tunnels possibly
dug, and general activity of the colony carried on normally. Warriors
will again meet the party (although they might be reduced in
number). When the queen is killed, all organized activity will cease.
EXAMPLE 3: The party has found a cave complex which is the lair of an orc band.
S1. The orcs might have a warning device
(a drum, horn, gong, bell, etc.)
available for use by the guards posted at the entrance to their lair. The
larger the number of orcs, the greater the chance thot such a device
will be on hand. As soon as the attack occurs, one or two orcs will rush
to inform the group that they are under attack, assuming that opportunity
allows. Response to the attack will be disorganized, wave
attacks being likely, with the nearest orcs coming first, and the leaders
(most likely to be at the rear of the complex) coming up near the last.
Some traps might be set along the complex entry. Resistance will
stiffen as the leaders (and ogres, if any) come up. When the party retires,
there is a fair chance for pursuit - a general harassment by the
boldest fighters amongst the orcs.
S2. There is not much chance that the
chaotic orcs will have sent for reinforcements,
although some few losses might hove been replaced by
returning group members. Any damage or destruction in the cave
complex will have been repaired. There is a great likelihood that
more guards will be on duty and some warning device ready to alert
the group, as discipline will be attempted because of the attack. Response
to the attack will be more immediote, and leaders and spell
casters will be ready to fight. (If the party camped too near the orcs
during the intervening week, there is a chance that the orcs might
have located and raided the place!)
EXAMPLE IV: The party comes upon a small town and openly assaults the place.
S1. Town guards will give warning immediately,
and while there will not
be an alarm device at each post, there will be a central bell, gong, or
whatever to alert the entire citizenry of attack. When this sounds,
trained militia bands will arm, muster, and move to designated
locations to repel the attack. The citizens, regardless of alignment
(and this includes characters with adventurer classes), will be likely to
join to fight attackers, for the general welfare of the community will
come first. When the party breaks off their attack, pursuit is highly possible
if the town has sufficient forces available to do so on the spot.
S2. The town will have sought whatever
reinforcements they could by
means of employment of mercenaries, requests to nearby fortresses
and towns for men-at-arms, and all able-bodied persons will be
formed into militia bodies. Any destruction wrought by the initial assault
will have been repaired as time and ability allowed. Guards will
be doubled or trebled, and local spell casters will have their most effective
and powerful offensive and defensive magicks ready. Scouting
parties will have been sent out and the approach of the attacking
party will be likely to be known. Pursuit will be very likely if the
second attack fails so as to allow it.
EXAMPLE V: The party encounters a bandit camp and engages in combat.
S1. The entire camp will be organized
and ready for action on the spur of
the moment. As soon as the guard pickets sound the alarm, reaction
will be swift. Defensive traps, snares, and pits will make up a part of
the defensive ring of the camp. Bandits will move to take up assigned
posts. Counterattacks will be thrown against the party at appropriate
times. When the action is broken off, thieves, assassins, or even monks
who might be members of the bandit group will move to track and
follow the party to discover what its subsequent actions are and if
another attack will ensue.
S2. There is a great likelihood that
the entire encampment will be GONE
(without a trace of where it went) if the attacking party was obviously
of sufficient power to cause serious trouble if it attacked again. If still
there, the traps, pits, and snares will have been more carefully hidden
and will be more numerous also. Ambushes might be set along the
most probable route of approach to the camp for the party's second
attack. A few more bandits might have been enlisted or called in from
groups out raiding. All guards will have been doubled or trebled, all
men more alert than ever, and all possible preparations made. During
the interim an assassination attempt upon one or more of the
members of the party might have been made (assuming that the
bandits have an assassin character amongst their number), an attempt
to insinuate a spy into the party might have been made, and/or a raid
upon the party's camp may have been carried out by the bandits. If
the party retires, pursuit will certainly take place if bandit strength still
EXAMPLE VI: The party discovers a fortress and attacks.
S1. Guards will instantly sound a warning
to alert the place. Alarms will
be sounded from several places within the fortress. Leaders will move
to hold the place, or expel invaders, with great vigor. Spell casters will
be likely to have specific stations and assigned duties - such as
casting fireballs, lighting bolts, flame strikes, cloudkills, dispel magics,
and like spells. Defenders are out to KILL, not deal stupidly or gently
with, attackers, and they will typically ask no quarter, nor give any. In
like fashion, traps within the fortress will be lethal As action
continues, commanders will assess the party's strengths, weaknesses,
defense, and attack modes and counter appropriately. If the party is
within the fortress, possible entry points and escape routes will be
sealed off. When the attackers pull back, it is very likely that they will
be counterattacked, or at least harassed. Additionally, members of the
force of the stronghold will track the party continually as long as they
are within striking distance of the fortress.
S2. The fortress will most likely have
replaced all losses and have reinforcements
in addition. An ambush might be laid for the attackers
when they approach. A sally force will be reody to fall upon the
attackers (preferably when engaged in front so as to strike the flank or
rear). Siege machinery, oil, missiles, etc. will be ready and in good
supply. Repairs to defenses will be made as thoroughly as time and
materials permitted. Weak areas will have been blocked off, isolated,
and trapped as well as possible under the circumstances. Leaders will
be nearby to take immediate charge. Spell casters might be disguised
as guards, or hidden near guard posts, in order to surprise attackers.
Any retreat by the attackers will be followed up by a hot pursuit.
As DM you must base actions and responses upon what the
activities possible to the monsters encountered would be when attacked
first and then later. You assume the part of the creatures involved and act
accordingly. If the attacking party does not have the savoir-faire to assess
and properly handle the encounter - and this could well mean leaving as
quickly as possible and not returning to get a second bloody nose - then
they deserve whatever befalls them. It is absolutely necessary that the
Dungeon Master remember that a seriously threatened person will reply
with the strongest possible attackldefense measure in order to assure his
or her well-being. (This could, of course, indicate a feigned surrender,
pretended friendliness, fighting to the death or dozens of other reactions
according to the circumstances and intelligence/wisdom of the individual
involved.) The best course might actually be running away -- something
which intelligent creatures and many not-so-intelligent animals will be
prone to do when there is no other choice save useless death. So, then,
does a threatened cleric cast a know alignment spell upon an aggressor?
Or a hold person? Obviously, the latter choice is far more logical in 99% of
the cases, and so you should have monsters behave. Skeletons and
zombies will mindlessly be slaughtered. Giant ants will march to destruction
in behalf of their colony, but more intelligent creatures will react
with a greater variety of defenses, counterattacks, and so on in order to
assure their safety.